ESTAR - Overview

The goal of ESTAR, the latest initiative within the Texas Algebra Ready (TX-AR) framework, is to support elementary students in the state of Texas to achieve a high level of preparedness in mathematics. ESTAR is designed to improve overall mathematics instruction and achievement in order to reduce the percentage of students who need math intervention in the elementary grades.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Leanne Ketterlin-Geller

Funding Agency

Education Service Center XIII and the Texas Education Agency


Through the success of MSTAR, the state has identified the value of developing a universal screener for grades 2-4 that aligns with algebra-readiness knowledge and skills drawn out from the revised Texas Response to the Curriculum Focal Points. This document, based on the revised TEKS, adopted in April 2012, identifies critical areas of mathematics instruction in a framework for sequencing and developing curricula at each grade level. Furthermore, the content of the universal screener will be organized around foundational, bridging, and target knowledge and skill levels while representing procedural understanding, conceptual understanding, strategic competence, and adaptive reasoning levels of cognitive complexity.

MSTAR - Overview

Middle School Students in Texas Algebra Ready

The MSTAR initiative is in collaboration with Education Service Center Region XIII and the Texas Education Agency and is comprised of three lead components structured and integrated to support students and teachers in grades five through eight to achieve mathematics success.

  • Launched in the fall of 2010 to 55,244 students in 129 school districts, the MSTAR Universal Screener is a formative assessment that can be given to all students and identifies a baseline for teachers and administrators in understanding a student's algebra-readiness according to the state-mandated core curriculum. By the spring of 2012, 195,061 middle school students took the assessment, an overall participation growth rate of 170%.
  • The MSTAR Diagnostic Assessment has been in development since the fall of 2011 and will be launched state-wide in the spring of 2013. Designed to address those students identified as struggling in Tiers 2 and 3, the diagnostic assessment will inform educators where a student is on a learning progression and how to deliver instruction that will best support their individualized learning.
  • RME researchers delivered Professional Development in three training sessions for the MSTAR Academy II project for the Texas Education Agency in spring and summer 2011. The goals of this project provided resources to teachers and coaches to support the mathematics achievement of students who are struggling in mathematics in grades 5-8. The trainings were replicated across the state by certified trainers

This project is sponsored by the Texas Education Agency as part of the ongoing Middle School Students in Texas Algebra Ready (MSTAR). The goal of the MSTAR Academy II is to provide targeted professional development to support teachers’ design and delivery of supplemental instruction to support student achievement. For more information about the components of the MSTAR Project, see the iTunesU links:

MSTAR Academy Overview

Math Academies—Promotional Video

Relevant Publications and Presentations

Ketterlin-Geller, L., Bolen-Abbott, S., & Chard, D. J. (June, 2011). Middle School Texans Algebra Ready – Academy II. Professional development workshop sponsored by the Texas Education Agency. Austin, TX.

Chard, D. J., & Ketterlin-Geller, L. R (April, 2011). Designing and implementing a statewide system for RTI in mathematics: Lessons learned. Panel presented at the 2011 Council for Exceptional Children Convention and Expo, Washington, DC.

Ketterlin-Geller, L. R (April, 2011). Assessment and assessment decision-making for students struggling with mathematics. Panel presented at the 2011 Council for Exceptional Children Convention and Expo, Washington, DC.